Eff! Sugar Is in Everything!

We are nearing the first week of my let’s-go-sugar-free-for-an-entire-year insanity. And lemme tell you, I was doing pretty good—until today. At some point this morning, my body gave up. I taught my usual Sunday fitness class and barely had enough energy to walk out the door. My body—which is typically fueled by sugar and carbs—is slowing switching over to being keto-friendly and running on fat. (Read that: reducing my carb intake is forcing my body to burn ketones for energy instead of glucose.)

Until that switch happens, I’m in the midst of what’s called the Keto Flu. People who have experienced the phenomenon have called it “distressing.” Whatever it is, it’s kicking my soon-to-be-smaller ass. I looked at the symptoms today. Difficulty sleeping—check. Nausea”24/7. Headache—check. Lethargy—effective immediately. The list goes on and on. Oddly, nobody warned me about this until my friend Mithra pointed it out. “Brace yourself. It may get worse,” she says.


This past week has been an adventure in being sugar-free. When I did Whole 30 a few years ago, I wasn’t being as strict with my diet as I am now. Now, I eschew sugar, and gluten, and sweeteners and starches. That leaves, uh, meats and veggies and the occasional low-glycemic fruit like kiwis or raspberries. But what’s particularly daunting is that processed sugar is in everything.

Every. Last. Damn. Thing.

A seemingly harmless cauliflower pizza crust? Added sugar. The hot sauce I wanted to use on my eggs. Yep, sugar. That non-threatening can of wasabi almonds. 6 grams of sugar. And don’t even get me started on salad dressings and condiments. They’re laden with the white stuff. Hell, even Altoids have sucralose—an artificial sweetener made from, you guessed it, sugar. Mustard has become my saving grace. I’m slathering it on everything—well, until I’m sick of it.

The problem is that sugar (or some derivative thereof) isn’t always labeled sugar. In fact, sometimes, it’s called anything but. Sneaky marketing bastards. So while I’m going down in Keto flu flames, I’m still forced to read my labels thoroughly.

Speaking of keto, I’m starting a challenge with the folks at Evolve Juicery and Kitchen on Thursday. Besides all the aforementioned things I can’t have, I’m now adding no dairy to that list. Even weirder? I’m only allowed to eat from 12pm-6pm—or some six hour window of my choosing. Their rules, not mine. I’m curious to see if my body is on board or continues its revolt. Either way, the menu plan is foolproof. They make a variety of tasty meals that fit the protocol. You devour accordingly. Full disclosure though: I have one deviation. I’m giving myself permission to have a dollop of honey in my tea in the morning. Given that I used to eat a dozen frosted sugar cookies in one sitting, I’m thinking that a teaspoon of honey is allowably warranted.

I started this journey a mere four pounds away from my all-time heaviest. I was a whopping 258 on January 2nd. I’m not going to weigh myself until around Valentine’s Day.

In the meantime, keep your fingers crossed this Keto Flu thing passes quickly. My body is battling itself from the inside out right now. All in all, the first week sans sucre was without incident—you know, until today. Now if y’all will excuse me, Imma go take a nap.